Cowell Is A Fan Of New-look American Idol

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March 9, 2011 | 9:05pm EST

Movie mogul Simon Cowell has broken his silence about the new season of American Idol – and he’s a big fan.
The Brit quit as a judge on the show last May and his departure prompted an overhaul of the talent contest.

Rocker Steven Tyler and singer/actress Jennifer Lopez were hired and, together with fellow judge Randy Jackson, they’ve spiked ratings and become a critical sensation.

And now Cowell admits J.Lo and Tyler have revamped the talent contest – and he likes what he sees.

In a taped interview with newsman Piers Morgan, which will air on CNN next week, Cowell says, “I personally think it is a better show than last year. I genuinely do. I think what they’ve got is that it feels to me that they’ve got their energy back, that they’re confident, that they’re competitive.”

And he admits the show was slowly dying when he decided it was time to quit, because it no longer featured the original three judges – himself, Jackson and Paula Abdul.

He adds, “I always think of Idol really as me, Paula, and Randy, and I think when other people were brought in, and Paula wasn’t there, it was, to me, like being on a different show… weird atmosphere.”

Cowell is now planning to take over TV again with a U.S. version of his hit British show The X Factor, which will launch later this year.